News Evaluation – Beyond the Checklist

Submitted by Sara Davidson Squibb on May 9th, 2017
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Short Description: 

As part of a larger news evaluation campaign, Sara Davidson Squibb and colleagues (Lindsay Davis, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco and Elizabeth Salmon) created a jigsaw lesson to use with introductory writing courses. Students were asked to evaluate an article’s content, tone, and purpose in a large group before they discussed the article in the context of two other articles on the same topic in a smaller group. After these group discussions, the library instructor revealed the source of each news article and highlighted resources and strategies for learning more about news sources. Through the lesson, students were able to focus more on content, corroboration, and source knowledge (rather than a mere checklist) to make decisions about an article’s bias and level of accuracy. All four instruction librarians taught this lesson to multiple sections of introductory writing courses. Though the librarians started with an original set of three articles on the topic of health care enrollment, we also identified two other sets of materials that were targeted to the course content of specific introductory writing sections.

Lesson Plan OutlineDownloaded 1080 times137.09 KB
Student WorksheetDownloaded 827 times80.77 KB
Presentation SlidesDownloaded 976 times1.27 MB
Article A redacted - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 567 times134.71 KB
Article A - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 522 times144.05 KB
Article B redacted - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 487 times138.14 KB
Article B - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 535 times140.93 KB
Article C redacted - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 584 times166.21 KB
Article C - HealthCare EnrollmentDownloaded 477 times170.04 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

Students will be able to …
• make an initial determination of an article’s accuracy and bias based on an evaluation of content, purpose, and tone.
• discover the importance of corroborating information.
• identify resources that can reveal more information about a new source’s perspective.
• recognize that many factors may be considered when evaluating a news source.

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

Librarians contacted instructors of introductory writing classes and offered this one-shot lesson on news evaluation. Instructors provided class lists, and librarians made three student groups (A, B, C), matching each student with one article (Article A, etc.). Librarians provided redacted news articles, which instructors assigned to students to read prior to the library session.

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 
Suggested Citation: 
Davidson Squibb, Sara . "News Evaluation – Beyond the Checklist." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.


Great assignment. Good opportunities for adaptation.